Five freshman acts to watch out for in 2012

Dec 22, 2011

Five freshman acts to watch out for in 2012

Formed in April 2011, Hysteric Picnic could be set to make a splash in the Tokyo indie scene with a sound influenced by 1970s/’80s British new wave, echoing Joy Division and Young Marble Giants in their simple but memorable melodies and arrangements. On a ...

Natural disasters rock year in music

Dec 22, 2011

Natural disasters rock year in music

The year 2011 in Japan was undoubtedly defined by the triple disasters of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear crisis. The impact of those catastrophes was also felt across the entire entertainment world. The industry pretty much put itself on ...

Perfume 'JPN'

Dec 8, 2011

Perfume "JPN"

Whatever else you might say about idol trio Perfume’s new album, “JPN” is a title fraught with possible meanings. Is it a postquake rallying cry? A doomed attempt to reach out to overseas audiences following the use of “Polyrhythm” in Pixar’s pointless “Cars 2″ ...

| Nov 24, 2011

Late-night dancing should not be a crime in Japan

Imagine a town where playing rock music is under a curfew and police crack down on unlicensed late-night dancing. Are you thinking of the town from the film “Footloose”? Or are you thinking of Fukuoka? Kumamoto? Yokohama? This unbelievable scenario is the result of ...

Must-see indie groups coming out of Aichi

Nov 3, 2011

Must-see indie groups coming out of Aichi

Nagoya is the biggest city in Aichi Prefecture and has a population of well over 2 million, so there is no way an article like this can hope to capture the full depth of its musical talent. However, here are a few bands that ...

Record stores fuel Nagoya's scene

Nov 3, 2011

Record stores fuel Nagoya's scene

Despite having had its musical reputation sullied by Yasushi Akimoto’s decision to make it the home of SKE48, the first offshoot of pop-idol army AKB48, Nagoya is home to one of Japan’s most vibrant independent music scenes. Going back into its history, the capital ...

The Human League know you still want them

Oct 13, 2011

The Human League know you still want them

Emerging out of the late-1970s new-wave scene in the English industrial town of Sheffield alongside fellow electronic and synthpop luminaries such as ABC, Cabaret Voltaire and Heaven 17, The Human League was one of the bands that defined the sound of the ’80s, with ...

The cute 'n' kooky world of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Japan's newest pop idol

Sep 29, 2011

The cute 'n' kooky world of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Japan's newest pop idol

A recurring theme in the Strange Boutique column has been the question of what has gone wrong with pop music in Japan. Amid discussions of the pernicious influence of advertising agencies, record industry conservatism in the face of declining sales, and the faceless, self-replicating ...

(M)otocompo's  theater challenges stale indie scene

Sep 8, 2011

(M)otocompo's theater challenges stale indie scene

Shuffling onto the stage in a flurry of robotic jerks come three men wearing glazed expressions and identical striped tops. In time with the retro-futurist synthesizer chirps and bleeps, they then lurch into a kind of clockwork dance routine, while a fourth man, wearing ...